The revered sakura, or cherry blossoms, have been celebrated in landscapes, figure paintings, and prints by artists from medieval Japan to Katsushika Hokusai and beyond. Variously thought of as representing the impermanence of things and the joy of spending time together admiring the blossoms, sakura are symbols of joy and cultural meaning.
In Washington, DC, the cherry tree has become a cherished symbol of the friendship between Japan and the United States. It all began in 1912, when Washington saw the arrival of more than 3,000 Japanese cherry trees, the first two of which were planted in West Potomac Park by First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, the wife of the ambassador of Japan to the United States. Since then, Washington, DC’s National Cherry Blossom Festival has grown to include numerous programs and events celebrating the beauty of nature, community spirit, and international friendship.
Don’t miss out on hanami, the traditional Japanese custom of “flower viewing.” Celebrate from home with an array of programs and activities that the National Museum of Asian Art is bringing to your fingertips. Take your group on an interactive docent tour to learn about cherry blossoms in our collections. Explore more Japanese art on your own time with our Objects We Love video series. Take a break and meditate with cherry blossom-themed art in an online Meditation and Mindfulness session, and use specially designed cherry blossom art backgrounds in your next Zoom call.
On View at the Museum
March 5 –July 24, 2022
This exhibition showcases the breadth of the museum’s medieval Zen collections, highlighting rare and striking works from Japan and China to illustrate the visual, spiritual, and philosophical power of Zen. Rooted in the culture of medieval Japan, the lessons of Zen have become an important part of contemporary American life, as applicable today as they were in premodern times.
March 19, 2022–January 29, 2023
Expect the unexpected. This exhibition reveals the captivating stories and urban legends of individuals living on the fringes of society in early modern Japan. Key subjects in theater, literature, and the visual arts focus on antiheroes and underdogs whose virtues are often embodied by their rejection of societal norms, making them misfits and moral exemplars at the same time.
Explore Art and Music Online
Treasures from Our Japanese Art Collections
Discover Japanese art from our collections and enjoy talks and performances. Our experts love these exceptional objects, and we think you will fall in love with them too.
Online Interactive Docent Tours
Special Cherry Blossom Sessions
Cherry Blossom Tour
The revered sakura, or cherry blossom, has been celebrated in landscapes, figure paintings, and prints by artists from medieval Japan to Katsushika Hokusai and beyond. You are invited to embrace hanami, the traditional Japanese custom of “flower viewing,” by going cherry blossom viewing in the museum’s Japanese art collections!
These tours for adults are approximately one hour long. To schedule your adult group, please use the online reservation form. All online tours must be scheduled at least four weeks in advance.
Online tours for adults are offered in the following languages by request: English, Cantonese, French, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, and Mandarin.
Cherry Blossom Festival
Available March 14–April 29, 2022
Available for grades pre-K–8
What is it about cherry trees, or sakura, that makes them so beloved? During this virtual field trip, students will explore hanami, the traditional Japanese custom of “flower viewing.” Through paintings, woodblock prints, and other art forms, students will discover Japanese symbols, values, and traditions associated with blooming cherry trees. Students may write poetry; learn Japanese characters; or “jump into” a work of art and imagine what they might hear, feel, see, and smell.
Join our Online Programs
We invite you to attend our programs focused on Japanese art and culture in honor of cherry blossom season.
Meditation and Mindfulness
Art-based Friday Sessions
Meditation helps us build a relationship to a place of inner quietude. To contribute to a sense of calm in this uncertain time, the museum offers free, 30-minute online meditations three times a week led by DC-based meditation teachers. These free sessions are appropriate for all levels of practitioners and include a variety of mindfulness practices. Sessions on Fridays include inspiration from art in the museum collections and guest speakers. In honor of the cherry blossom season, forthcoming sessions (Fridays, April 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29, 2022 from 12–12:30 p.m.) will focus on objects from our Japanese art collections.
Cherry Blossom Cheer
Join your next Zoom call with a newly designed Zoom background featuring cherry blossom-themed artworks from the National Museum of Asian Art collections.
Hanami at Home
In celebration of one hundred and ten years of enduring friendship between the people of Japan and the United States, we’ve launched a limited edition collection of merchandise just in time for the National Cherry Blossom Festival!
With shirts, kids’ clothing, mugs, blankets, scarves and more, we’ve got something for everyone who wants to enjoy the fleeting beauty of the sakura, or cherry blossom, any time of year! Show off your love of the season and support the National Museum of Asian Art with this new collection inspired by artworks from the museum. Proceeds support our exhibitions, research, and education initiatives, helping the museum remain free and accessible to all.
Don’t wait too long—these items are only available for a limited time! Shop now through April 17, 2022.
In Japanese / 日本語によるフリーアとサックラー
Our museum is committed to making our collections and expertise more widely accessible through programs and resources in multiple languages. In this playlist, you will be able to enjoy Japanese-language material. More coming soon!